Drug Industry Launches Ad Campaign Aimed at Lawmakers
Trade group lobbies against efforts to rein in prescription costsBy Joseph Walker, WSJ
Feb. 7, 2016 5:45 p.m. ET
The pharmaceutical industry, under fire this election season for rising drug prices, is ramping up a new advertising campaign designed to improve its reputation with lawmakers as it lobbies against any effort to rein in prescription costs.
The sector’s largest trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, says it intends to spend several million dollars this year, and 10% more than in 2015, on digital, radio and print ads that emphasize the industry’s role in developing new drugs and advancing medical science.
Many of the ads are running on social-media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, because PhRMA wants to target federal and state lawmakers, policy analysts and other political “influencers,” said Robert Zirkelbach, senior vice president of communications at PhRMA, which represents nearly three dozen of the largest drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc. and Amgen Inc.
Websites like Facebook promise to deliver ads to specific audiences based on characteristics including their location, occupation and keyword search history.
The campaign is primarily directed at policy makers in Washington, but ads will also run in some select states that have yet to be determined, Mr. Zirkelbach said.